By Wellington C. Ramos
I was anxious to watch the game between Belize and Honduras, who are competing for the Central American Cup. By the time I got to see the game, it was about ten minutes in the second half. Honduras were playing quality football, with teamwork, ball control, passing to their teammates, avoiding turnovers, shooting and creating opportunities to score goals. Belize on the other hand were playing too much of a defensive game.
Born in Dangriga Town, the cultural capital of Belize, Wellington Ramos is a former Belize national team player
Their defence was stuck in the goal area, putting a lot of pressure on themselves, the goal keeper and blocking his view on several occasions from seeing the players. There was a free kick and one of the Belizean players in the wall, turned his back to the kicker and opened up the wall. Luckily, the goalkeeper was good and he saved the ball. I was not impressed with the way Belize were playing and I felt that they were going to lose the game.
The defensive players did not play Honduras a midfield game to run out of the goal area whenever they had an opportunity. This gave the Honduran players enough space to knock the ball around the Belizean players as if it was a practice match and that they did well. The Belize midfielders were not even playing midfield and spent a lot of time hanging around with the defence in the goal area, causing congestion and confusion. Their opponents were not attacked when they had possession of the ball because the Belizean players were too far away from them.
It was only going to be a matter of time before Honduras were going to score a goal because the ball was mostly in the Belize goal area throughout the entire second half. Eventually, one of the Honduran players got a pass and he kicked it hard into the goal and he was not attacked by the Belizean player who was close to him and the shot scored. That goal could have been avoided because the defence just stood there and did nothing. Plus, even when the goalkeeper jumped for the ball, it passed his hands closely. I do not believe that the coach of the Belizean team told the Belizean players to play the way they did because that game’s performance was poor.
Belize will not go to the finals because they lost this game but they need to watch the video of the game so that they can see how terribly they performed. I believe that whatever sport a player plays, he or she should give the game their 100%. The goalkeeper was playing his best but the others did not play as if they wanted to win. In the whole second half that I watched, Belize only took about two shots on goal against the Honduran goalkeeper. The best shot was taken by Mariano and if that ball had gone a little bit more to the left that was definitely going to be a goal. The next time Belize play any team, they need to play midfield football against the team.
The sweeper should bring up his defence to the midfield line throughout the entire game. That will reduce the space for the other team to be knocking the ball around them and it will become a man to man match. Belize will also put the pressure on the opposing team which will give them more chances to score goals. Some of the Belizean players look fit and young and can outrun those Honduran players and could have won that game. Belize had no offence that posed any threat to the Honduran team.
The way they played, it was a game that favoured Honduras from the beginning. If Mariano, Roches and McAuley were playing forward with an excellent centre midfielder, with this type of football strategy, the Belize national team would have been a force to reckon with. Belize can find those midfielders in our country because I know they have them.
Still, I am beginning to see some progress with football in our country and I will do anything to see that football in Belize advances to its highest level. We are coming a long way from where we were and I am asking all of our people to support our football team. Football is the number one sport in the world and it will bring a lot of publicity and money to our country. Pretty soon Belize will be playing in the World Cup and I will live to see that day as a former football player and a proud Belizean citizen.